Cold and dark was all she felt. The room was pitch black, and there was nothing to provide any sense of where she might be. The room was silent, yet so loud she couldn’t hear herself think. She called out the only thing her brain could manage to think of, but there was no response. She reached out next to her desperately seeking the warmth of her presence, but again there was nothing. Nothing. All she felt, all she saw, all she heard was nothing. It was deafening, it was suffocating. It was as if she’d spent so long working to finally build her life up only to so easily come back to this all too familiar place. This all too familiar feeling. Nothing.
Stella Gibson sat up with a sharp inhale, struggling to catch her breath. She reached out next to her hoping to find a sleeping figure, but instead her hand hit the wall and she groaned at the harsh contact. She looked around and slowly recognized her surroundings, realizing she was in her office.
After stretching out her aching muscles she swung her legs off the side of the creaky cot and rested her face in her hands.
It had been a while since she’d had to work an all nighter like this and it was taking its toll on her already. All she wanted was to be back at home holding her girlfriend and the little life growing inside her tightly while she slept.
As if on cue Stella’s cell phone started to ring, pulling her out of her thoughts when she saw it was Dana calling. She sighed deeply, trying to rid herself of her anxiety before accepting the call.
“Hi love,” She whispered as she put the phone up to her ear.
“I miss you.” The redhead blurted immediately, causing Stella’s heart to ache a little.
“I know, I miss you too. I don’t like being away from you overnight.” She stated, rubbing circles around her tired eyes.
“I was having a hard time staying asleep, so I thought I’d call you. I hope I didn’t wake you?” Dana said, twirling the corner of her sheets between her fingers.
“No, No, I was awake.” She admitted, remembering she’d texted Dana to tell her she was going to try to get some rest only a couple hours earlier.
“Did something come up with the case?” Dana asked, with a pause,”Or did you have a nightmare?”
Stella huffed a little, “Yeah, nightmare.”
She was in no mood to talk about it, and Dana knew that without having to ask, so instead she started to talk about the show she’d been watching before she went to bed and how the baby had been kicking her like crazy all night.
“I think she misses you being home tonight, too.” The redhead whispered, making Stella’s heart flutter.
They talked for a while about nothing in particular until both women could tell Stella’s nerves had finally begun to settle.
“Alright love, it’s late. Why don’t you try to go back to sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow night, around dinner time.”
Dana’s lip fell into a small pout and she sighed dramatically. “I don’t want to wait that long. I want you to come home now.” She said, her dramatics pulling a laugh from her partner.
“I know. I would love to come home now, but I can’t. Just get some sleep, and I’ll be home before you know it. I love you, okay?”
The last thing Stella really wanted to do was hang up, but she wanted Dana to be rested.
“I love you too.” The redhead whispered from the other line with a muffled yawn.
They both sat on the line silently for a while, neither woman ready to hang up on the other.
“Stella, I don’t wanna go to sleep alone.” Dana said after a moment, causing that same uncomfortably empty feeling to creep up on Stella again.
“I know love, I don’t want you to either. It’s just tonight though, and you and the baby need rest. I’ll be home so soon. I promise.”
Dana let out a small sigh as she shut her eyes. “Will you stay on with me while I fall asleep?” She asked, allowing herself to be needy.
Stella smiled warmly, “Of course I will.”
Both women laid back down and Stella started to hum lightly, causing Dana to fall asleep almost immediately.
Stella had considered hanging up once Dana was asleep, but she noticed that the sound of her breathing was gradually lulling her to sleep too, so she left the phone next to her ear and shut her eyes. She was still tired, she still needed some rest, and she knew the only way she would be able to get that was with the sound of Dana’s peaceful sleepy noises in her ear.
The morning came all too quickly and Dana awoke to the sound of Stella lightly snoring. Her heart fluttered and she rolled over to look at the woman she loved, only to be startled when she saw the bed was empty. She looked around for a moment, and realized the phone was still laying next to her on the pillow. Stella hadn’t ended the call before she’d fallen asleep. Dana listened to the sound of her snores a little while longer before ending the call, and getting up to get ready for the day.
She made her way into the closet to find something to wear while she ran her errands, though she was having a hard time finding anything that fit or didn’t make her feel huge. She didn’t like the way she looked in anything.
Her belly was of course growing, and that part she loved, but overall she just felt giant and she suddenly missed having Stella there to remind her that it’s beautiful and all for their baby.
She finally settled on some maternity jeans and an old loose t-shirt, and grabbed a pair of socks from her drawer. She cried a few tears of frustration as she struggled to get the socks on her swollen feet, and then headed into the bathroom to get ready.
Mornings had felt so joyful lately when her and Stella would get ready for the day. It was all quite benign but the fact that they got to do it together made it feel like so much more. This morning, however, just felt dull.
She made her way into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee while contemplating breakfast.
She didn’t feel like eating anything, as she’d been nauseous since the second she woke, but she could already hear Stella in the back of her mind getting onto her for skipping it; so she decided she’d make some toast as well.
Once her breakfast was finished she left to start her errands, trying to get through the motions of the day. Something didn’t feel right, and she knew it was rooted in her not having seen Stella in over 36 hours. She glanced at the watch on her wrist and sighed, knowing she still had the whole day to get through and decided focusing on her errands was her best chance at surviving the next 8 hours.
Stella groaned as the sound of knocking pulled her out of her sleep. It took her eyes a moment to adjust, but when she realized she was still in her office she groaned again.
“Come in.” She said firmly, sitting up on the edge of the cot and smoothing her hair down.
She looked down at her phone and saw a couple texts from Dana and smiled.
“We have an eye witness that we need to interview. Are you ready to go?” Stella’s partner asked, sticking his head through the cracked door.
“Yeah in a minute,” She said with a nod, “I’ll meet you down there.” She never looked up from her phone, intently focused on the messages in front of her.
Felt a little nauseous this morning and didn’t want to eat, but I knew if you’d been here you wouldn’t let me hear the end of it, so I ate some toast. ;)
I’m running errands today. I still miss you. :(
Baby is kicking a lot, pretty sure she misses you too.
Stella typed clumsily as she walked, smiling down at her phone the way a high school girl would smile at messages from her boyfriend.
It started to sink in again that she hadn’t seen Dana since the previous morning, and she began to feel the guilt creep in for agreeing to stay overnight. She knew Dana understood, but a part of her still worried that she didn’t. Her priorities had changed lately. Dana was all that mattered to her. Dana and the baby.
She shook the thought from her head and focused back on work, knowing the sooner she finished the sooner she’d be able to go home.
It was just after seven pm when Stella finally reached the door to their flat. She sighed as she turned the knob, knowing Dana had been expecting her home hours earlier. The walk towards the kitchen felt long and she found herself feeling nervous and guilty again. Though, that all melted away when she saw her girlfriend sitting at the counter already smiling in her direction.
“Stel!” Dana exclaimed, jumping up to close the distance between them.
“Something smells good.” Stella stated as she rested her cheek on Dana’s shoulder, her nose nuzzling her hair.
“Oh it’s nothing. I just made some chicken, rice and veggies.”
“I wasn’t talking about the food.” Stella walked towards the fridge with a smirk and pulled out a bottle of wine that hadn’t been touched in days.
They ate dinner and cleaned the kitchen before relaxing on the couch for a while, happy to finally be in each other’s arms again. Dana started to doze off almost immediately, pregnancy fatigue getting the better of her, but Stella insisted she get up so they could sleep in their bed. It took some persuading to get the redhead off the couch, but she eventually agreed their bed sounded nicer, and she let Stella help her up.
Ten minutes later their teeth were brushed, faces washed, and they were snuggled up underneath the silky sheets.
“See, I told you this was better.” Stella said with a smile. She held Dana close to her as she gently rubbed little circles on her belly. “I think the baby agrees.”
Dana giggled lightly, though she was too tired to respond. It didn’t take long until she was out cold, and Stella followed not far behind her.
Cold. Dark. Empty.
There she was again, alone with the nothingness. Except this time she wasn’t alone, this time she was with her . The comfort that provided only lasted a moment as she watched the brilliant red light that fought off the blackness slowly disappear from her grasp. She was losing her and she couldn’t do anything to stop it. She tried to yell, tried to call out for her. Nothing. The light was now completely gone, and she was alone again. She ran in circles, desperately searching for something, anything. She looked, she listened, she felt. All she needed was a sight, a sound, a touch. But once again, there was only Nothing.
Stella shot up in bed, clutching her chest. She tried to take several deep breaths but for a moment it felt impossible. She reached out to her right side and her hand met the softness of Dana’s pajamas, causing an instant wave of relief to wash over her. She looked over to see the redhead sleeping peacefully, and continued to try to catch her breath.
She couldn’t take her eyes off of her. She had to convince herself that she was there and she was safe. Her eyes made their way to the little bump and she reached out to softly touch it.
Dana’s here. The baby’s here. She thought to herself, desperately seeking some sort of relief.
She tried to lay back down, but only lasted a few seconds before her body screamed at her to sit up again. She was still trembling lightly, and every nerve in her body was tingling. The reality that she most likely wouldn’t be going back to sleep set in and she hesitantly accepted it. She turned to Dana again, watching her body rise and fall with each breath. She tried to mirror her breathing. She needed something to ground her.
Despite the sweat coating her forehead, Stella was freezing and her mind was suddenly stuck on the idea of tea. She considered getting up to go make some, but there was no chance she would leave Dana’s side anytime soon.
After trying unsuccessfully to lay down again, Stella sat up with a frustrated groan and set her hand on Dana’s shoulder.
She considered her next move for a moment, a bit afraid of waking her pregnant partner, but she thought she didn’t have another choice. She shook her gently, and within seconds Dana’s eyes were open staring back into Stella’s with confusion.
“Stel?” She asked, rolling over to look at the clock.
“Hey, it’s still the middle of the night. I’m sorry to wake you I just…” Stella trailed off, suddenly feeling silly.
“Did you have another nightmare?” The redhead asked, sitting up. Stella nodded, not wanting to admit it out loud.
She felt dumb, now. Waking Dana up in the middle of the night like this because she’d had a nightmare. How childish.
Though the love and understanding Stella found in Dana’s eyes when she looked at her made that all melt away.
“What do you need?” She asked, wrapping her arms around the blonde’s shoulders.
“Well… Tea sounded quite nice,” Stella started, leaning into the embrace, “But I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving this bed without you.”
A pink hue painted her cheeks as she spoke, making Dana smile.
“Tea it is then, my love. I will happily get up and have some tea with you.” She got out of the bed with a slight shiver and held her hands out to her blonde partner.
Stella took them into her own eagerly and climbed off the bed, pulling the redhead as flat against her as she could. Their baby made that a little difficult these days.
“I love you, D.” She said, resting her forehead on Dana’s. Stella took a step back and looked at her partner in awe.
Dana couldn’t help but laugh when she suddenly dropped to her knees, and placed a hand on each side of her belly. “And I love you, too.” Stella whispered, placing a gentle kiss on the soft skin of her stomach.
The two women made their way into the kitchen, and Stella put the kettle on while Dana took a seat at the counter. They stared at each other for a while, a calming quiet surrounding them.
When the water was finally ready Stella poured them each a cup, and joined Dana at the counter. The air was cold, and the warmth from the tea was comforting.
“So what do you think is going on?” Dana asked, causing Stella to look at her with a raised brow.
“What do you mean?”
“You have been doing so well. Haven’t had a nightmare in months… Why do you think you’re starting to have them again?”
Stella thought about the question carefully and began to plan out a response in her head. She did not want to have this conversation.
“I don’t know I…” She trailed off as she tried to ground herself, “I guess so many things are just so different now.”
Stella knew that wasn’t a good enough answer, but she was dreading the real reason her anxiety had returned. She was afraid to admit it to herself, much less Dana.
“There’s a lot of changes happening, for sure,” The redhead started, “But they're all good changes… I mean… At least I think so.”
The room fell silent for a moment and Dana was already cursing her insecurity as she said her next thought aloud. “Do you not feel the same?”
The small break in her voice as she asked the question immediately sent a twinge to Stella’s heart. She stood up briskly, and put a hand on each of Dana’s shoulders.
“Of course I feel the same, of course I do.”
Stella knew the only way she was going to be able to reassure her partner was by telling the full naked truth, which meant she needed to put her own fears aside.
“Dana we’re having a baby! We’re starting a family, we have a home. Yes it is so different, but I love every single moment of it.” Their blue eyes met and held each other’s gaze intently.
“I guess it’s just… I’ve never had anything like this before. This is so unknown to me.” Stella paused, taking a deep breath, “And I love you and this baby and our life so much that… I don’t know.”
A tear streamed down the blonde’s face and Dana quickly reached up to wipe it away.
“Keep going, it’s okay.” She whispered.
“I’m just terrified I’m going to lose it. Lose you, the baby. All of it. I’m scared I’ll be alone again.”
The air in the room began to feel lighter, and both women let themselves have a moment to collect their thoughts.
“Stella, listen to me,” Dana urged, standing to cradle her face in her hands, “I’m not going anywhere. Ever. I’m right here, forever. You’re stuck with me.”
They both laughed as their tears fell. “I mean it. I’m not going anywhere. This is your life now, and you deserve it. You deserve everything.”
Stella looked up at the ceiling, refusing to allow herself to fully break down, though Dana seemed intent on making it happen.
“You are the love of my life, Stella Gibson.”
The blonde wrapped her arms around her girlfriend tightly, never wanting to let go.
“I love you Dana, so much.” Stella responded, standing back to take in everything that was Dana Scully. The sight of her, the smell of her, the way her hands felt resting on her shoulders.
The redhead sat back down and picked up her tea, sipping on it with a smile. Stella couldn’t help but watch in adoration. This was all she wanted for the rest of her days. Late night tea dates with the love of her life.
Warmth and light was all she felt. The room was silent, yet so loud with their love for each other. Everything. She felt it all, she saw it all, she heard it all. This newly familiar feeling.
Everything is what she felt as she watched the redhead she loved so deeply sip on a cup of tea and caress her stomach that held their unborn child.